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Modern Techniques in Rice Breeding (Part II): Progress and Prospects in Tissue Culture

The production of rice is declining due to urbanization, environmental as well as biotic factors. It has been estimated that the population of the world will be increased up to 9 billion in 2050. In Asian countries, Rice provides nearly half of the total dietary carbohydrate and supplying 50-80% of the daily calorie intake. There is an everyday increasing demand for rice production as the rice consumers are increasing at the rate of 1.6-1.8% every year. In the developing world, the nutritional improvement of rice can also help in decreasing the evil of malnutrition. These circumstances warn us to improve the yield of rice through the latest biotechnological approaches in addition to conventional approaches so that the requirements will be fulfilled. Considerable progress has been made in the development of cellular biology and molecular genetic techniques that can be applied to the genetic improvement of rice. Tissue culture techniques such as anther culture, embryo rescue, and use of somaclonal variants have contributed to the release of new rice varieties.

Tissue culture is the in vitro aseptic culture of cells, tissues, organs or whole plant under controlled nutritional and environmental conditions often to produce the clones of plants. The science of plant tissue culture takes its roots from the discovery of cell followed by propounding of cell theory. In 1838, Schleiden and Schwann proposed that cell is the basic structural unit of all living organisms.

Plant tissue culture technology is being widely used for large scale plant multiplication. Apart from their use as a tool of research, plant tissue culture techniques have in recent years, become of major industrial importance in the area of plant propagation, disease elimination, plant improvement, and production of secondary metabolites. Small pieces of tissue (named explants) can be used to produce hundreds and thousands of plants in a continuous process. A single explant can be multiplied into several thousand plants in a relatively short time period and space under controlled conditions, irrespective of the season and weather on a year-round basis.

Tissue culture technology is one of the biotechnology approaches used to propagate rice. Research studies are aimed to find proximate tissue culture techniques or approaches for rice tissue culture. Some other factors such as tissue culture medium, plant growth regulators, carbon sources, gelling agents, and photoperiod need to be considered in order to achieve successful tissue culture.

However, the lack of a simple and efficient protocol for embryogenic callus induction and quick plant regeneration in rice is a major constraint and there is substantial genotype dependence. Several studies on different rice varieties have been carried out by various workers so as to optimize the conditions to achieve good results. Likely significant progress has been made in the past few decades. The different explants used for the rice tissue culture include coleoptile, roots, seed-derived scutellum, immature and mature embryos, leaves, stem nodes, inflorescence, and anthers. Among these different explants used, seed-derived scutellum serves as the best explant for the tissue culture of rice genotypes.



  • To provide a premier interdisciplinary platform to review the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of rice tissue culture.
  • Deliberation of the tissue culture application in rice breeding.
  • To provide researchers and experts a platform to share learning opportunities, networking with peers, leverage the knowledge and expertise of researchers, and learn current strategies that are working for others.


  • To conserve rare or endangered rice species.
  • plant breeder may use tissue culture to screen cells rather than plants for advantageous characters, e.g. herbicide resistance/tolerance.
  • To cross distantly related species by protoplast fusion and regeneration of the novel hybrid.
  • To rapidly study the molecular basis for physiological, biochemical, and reproductive mechanisms in rice, for example in vitro selection for stress tolerant plants.
  • To cross-pollinate distantly related species and then tissue culture the resulting embryo which would otherwise normally die (Embryo Rescue).
  • Production of identical sterile hybrid species can be obtained.
  • Large scale production of artificial seeds through somatic embryogenesis


  • History of tissue culture
  • Tissue culture: some definitions
  • Applications of tissue culture
  • Tissue culture in rice breeding
  • Anther and pollen grain culture of rice
  • Factors affecting tissue culture response
  • Optimization of culture medium
  • Let’s not dye!